You can find detailed instructions along with pictures for just about any Pilates mat exercise you are looking for right here at pilates.about.com. Written instructions offer a lot of benefits in that you can take your time studying them and practice at your own pace. Also, they often offer more depth than you find in a video clip. That said, witnessing a beautifully performed move can provide useful insight into an exercise.
I've been on the lookout for good videos and podcasts to recommend. Internet offerings are changing all the time, so check back as I update my finds. My criteria are that the video be free, easy to see, performed with excellent form, and that verbal instructions are clear if provided.
For info on Pilates classes online available for a fee, read: Best Pilates Classes Online
My top choices for free online video clips to date are:
- Pilates Videos at About.com: About.com teamed up with two NYC Pilates studios, Movements Afoot and Pilates on Fifth, to create well-demonstrated Pilates exercise videos that you can view right here at pilates.about.com. I've put together a list with links to each video along with a brief description of each one.
- Balanced Body Podcasts: Balanced Body has put together a very nice, and varied, series of podcasts. These downloadable videos are divided into focus categories. There are sections for instructors, enthusiasts, and rehabilitation; and also one called Elizabeth's Studio which features Pilates expert, Elizabeth Larkam, teaching on a variety of topics. Balanced body updates these videos weekly.
- YouTube: There has been an explosion of Pilates videos posted on YouTube. There are lots of Pilates mat exercises and YouTube is one of the few free ways to see lots Pilates reformer exercises and other Pilates studio equipment demonstrations online. The problem is that the quality of the Pilates videos is very uneven. Some of the first choices that come up when you search "Pilates" are not very good. So you really have to be careful. If you are new to Pilates, do not depend on YouTube videos! Please see: Pilates on YouTube, How to Find the Best Pilates on YouTube
On the other hand, wonderful Pilates demonstrations can be found on YouTube. I find the best strategy is to start with searching well known names like those from Pilates DVDs you might be familiar with and explore from there. Also, some of the very best Pilates on YouTube is archival footage of Joseph Pilates himself. Just search "Joseph Pilates". Of the archival videos, one of my favorites is Joseph Pilates with his protege, Romana Kryzanowska. See: Pilates and Romana Original Video
- Pilates on Fifth: Before we got Pilates on Fifth to make some videos for us here at Pilates.About.com, these were my favorite videos online. Here, the owners of Pilates on Fifth, Katherine and Kimberly Corp, demonstrate the mat exercises with excellent form and instruct with an appealing, gentle attitude. Watch the ones above and then go here to explore more exercises.
The Corp sisters have also launched a new website devoted to online videos of Pilates exercises, including equipment exercise which can be hard to find. This is a site you join, but the first level is free. The link for that is ultimatepilatesworkouts.com
- VideoJug.com: You will find a great variety of videos here, all from the same instructor who is (unfortunately) not named. There is basic Pilates mat work as well as exercises with equipment like the exercise ball and the fitness band.
Of course, a clip is just a clip. If you want to further your practice with more extensive video workouts, you may want to read the Pilates DVD reviews here at pilates.about.com, or check out my list of the best Pilates classes online (small fees).
One of the best ways to take advantage of exercises that you find on video is to also look them up in the Pilates mat exercise instructions so that you can get more detailed instruction to go with the video.
Do you have a favorite online Pilates video? Tell us about it in the Pilates Forum.